Pakistan Airlines Pay $7 Million to Release Aircraft

by Ajay Prakash

According to agency reports, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has paid $7 million on Friday, January 22, to Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited, an Irish aircraft leasing company. This payment is towards releasing one of its Boeing 777 aircraft, which was impounded by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur last week.

The Dispute

According to an editorial published in ‘International The News‘ on January 17, the dispute is regarding the leasing of two Boeing 777 aircraft from AerCap through its agent Peregrine Aviation Charlie. As per the report, $14 million was promised by PIA to Peregrine and remained unpaid. Peregrine Aviation went to court in the UK, where the case is still sub-judice. According to the Oman Observer, on 15 January as the Boeing 777 landed in Kuala Lumpur, Peregrine appealed to a local court in Malaysia, which ordered the aircraft’s seizure. The company claims that this is as per the international civil aviation leasing laws.

The Legal Proceedings

The PIA informed a judge at the London High Court on Friday that it has paid around USD 7 million to Peregrine Aviation, which was also confirmed by the company.  As per the news published in Outlook, lawyers from both sides sought adjournment on Friday to a later date, hoping to settle the payment of the balance amount. PIA is trying for a reduction in the charges as the airline maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic had seriously affected its operations.

About Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited

Peregrine Aviation Charlie is essentially a small broking firm in the business of facilitating the leasing of aircraft. The company headquarters are in Ireland and has only three employees – all three are Directors in the company. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the turnover of the company last year was $20.97 million.

According to a Geo News report, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan slammed PIA for its “irresponsible attitude and maladministration,” the said that the PIA seemed to be “unaware of international civil aviation leasing laws”. It deems the actions of Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited to be inline with all respective laws and regulations.

Flights to Europe Remain Suspended

The European Union Aviation Safety Commission had suspended PIA flights to Europe last July for six months. The suspension continues as the EU is dissatisfied with the country’s civil aviation authority’s steps to address licensing and safety concerns.

The airline is struggling with high costs and increased competition from its rivals. PIA hasn’t made a profit in 15 years and reported a loss of $327 million in the first nine months of operation last year (January – September 2020). According to ThePrint, the airline’s total losses stood at $3.8 billion and the end of 2019.

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